Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Wednesday that the automaker is moving boldly into the future.

All Tesla cars will now include fully capable self driving hardware, with the goal being a fully-autonomous production lineup by the end of 2017. Every single Tesla model will feature “Level 5” self-driving systems, which Musk claims are two times as safe, statistically, as human drivers.

From the Tesla press release:

We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver. Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.

Unfortunately for those interested in the self-driving future of cars, the feature doesn’t come standard. Although the hardware will be built in to every Tesla vehicle, it won’t be active unless you order it as an option (or pay to unlock it at a later date) for more money. Then again, early adopters often pay a premium to have technology before the general masses, so this is nothing new.


This article was worked on by a variety of people from the Autoversed team, including freelancers, editors, and/or other full-time employees.